Cleaning out drawers leads to discoveries. There is a metal file cabinet in the closet of my office. The top two drawers are accessed frequently to file paperwork throughout the year. The bottom two drawers have not been opened in many years. The access to these drawers were blocked by various boxes and assorted paraphernalia that gathered in the bottom of the closet. Since retiring, I’ve been sorting, organizing, and winnowing my paraphernalia so now I can discover what was placed in those file drawers years ago.

I have deduced last time the drawers were opened was 2014. I discovered my tax documents from 2009-2013 waiting to be shredded. There were also property tax receipts from 2003-2013. I thought our tax papers were stored somewhere in the attic. Apparently not. It’s a good thing we weren’t audited, as I don’t know if I would have looked in the file cabinet for the old tax papers.

I pulled the shredder into my office ready to begin the task of shredding. However, there’s an obstacle in the way of shredding. The tax papers are held together with heavy duty staples. I don’t think my shredder will be able to chew through these staples. At first I try pulling the pages apart to dislodge the staple, no success. The staple continues to grip the paper as if its life depended on it. I need to bring in a tool to get this job done. I cannot locate my favorite staple remover (a clever device that slides under the staple and lifts it out), so I must use the one that looks like a jaw with fangs. I wrestle with the staple and the jaws. I twist, turn, tug, pry. Slowly I extract each staple. It was a battle, but I won. The shredder chewed and devoured each stack of tax documents until all I had left was a bag of confetti.

Another discovery was found on my bookshelf, standing upright between books a clear plastic sleeve containing a telegram, a sample of my writing (have no idea how old I was), and my sixth grade class picture.

Here is the telegram my grandparents received after I was born. My father was in the Air Force and stationed in the Philippines.
I must have had an assignment to write about someone. I wrote about my grandmother. Don’t try to decipher the scrawl, it’s not very good. Here’s the beginning: “She runs around the kitchen on her tipytoes. What is she doing? Making donuts of corse.” Apparently, spelling was not my forte.
Notice the girls in the front row only have skirts or dresses. We were not allowed to wear pants. How sad that I only remember a few of the names.
That’s me in sixth grade.

I wonder what other discoveries I will make as I sort, organize, and winnow my collection of objects of my life.


11 thoughts on “Documents

  1. I always love the way the little details in your stories feel like they’re leading us with you to gradually uncover an exciting mystery, elsie… and WOW, what a discovery in this one! Such treasures! I can’t believe you have the telegram of your birth. That’s just incredible. A telegram just feels so historic, and it makes me wonder what parts of our everyday lives now will seem historic in the future.
    I loved seeing your handwriting (and the love for your grandmother that’s clear in that snippet), as well as the old pictures. I think my favorite part was really your personification of the staples though… just hysterical!

  2. Leigh Anne Eck says:

    What fun finds! The staple remover where you slip it under the staple is the BEST teacher tool ever and is my favorite! Where are you in the top picture? You have left us hanging!

  3. It’s like a time capsule! I enjoyed the writing and photos of a younger you. I wonder if I’d find my old writing somewhere in my parent’s house. What a treasure! Hope you find lots more gems in the organization.

  4. Joyce says:

    I think it is wonderful to discover the little glimpses into a friends childhood.
    What a special find for you to revisit.

  5. First of all it is so admirable of you to try and I guess I’m in awe at how organized you are. I can’t even bring myself to try L.C. but maybe it is worth getting the treasures. You were absolutely a beautiful 6th grader. I wish I could come up with some old writing. XO

  6. Terje says:

    Cool when besides things to throw away, you find some treasures. I have an image of a tiptoeing grandma in my mind now.

  7. Oh the staples! When I was in elementary school we weren’t allowed to wear pants either. Funny and sad how we remember things like that but not the people we were with. Being at home a lot, has driven me to do a lot of sorting too. Finding writing from your younger self is so wonderful! And, spelling is over rated. Some of my favorite people are bad spellers.

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